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Stories and information in our region on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yale Study: Child Care Participation Didn't Contribute To COVID-19 Spread

Image by Erich Westendarp from Pixabay

Child care centers that stayed open in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t contribute to the spread of the virus. That’s the finding in a new study from Yale University. 

Walter Gilliam is a professor with the Yale Child Care Center.

“At the beginning of the pandemic a lot of child care programs closed out of precaution and worry that perhaps COVID-19 would behave in child care programs the same way that influenza does. Influenza tends to spread very quickly in child care programs,” Gilliam said.

Yale researchers looked at about 57,000 child care providers around the country during May and June. They found a different picture.

“The amount of contact they had with child care was completely unrelated to whether or not they got sick with COVID-19 or were hospitalized with COVID-19,” Gilliam said.

Gilliam said most providers screened for illness and disinfected surfaces. Many didn’t wear masks — but Gilliam said that doesn’t mean masks are ineffective.

“Perhaps there’s just simple mechanics behind that, in terms of the fact that adults, when we breathe, we expel a lot more material than small children do with small lungs,” he said.

He said community spread is a bigger factor.

“In other words, is your area a hot spot? And if the COVID transmission rates are too high, it doesn’t really matter necessarily that the child care program isn’t spreading COVID-19. The child care providers will get sick in the community,” he said.

He said that makes it especially important for child care centers have all the supplies and staff they need to protect day care employees — and kids.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.